Sushil Kumar has been busy shooting for different brands following his record successive medal-winning performance at the London Games, but the unassuming grappler says it is easy to be on the mat rather than facing a camera.
“I am adept at my art, but to face a camera was a bit difficult. It was very challenging to start with. But like I have mastered my trade, I am trying to cope with the camera also,” Sushil told PTI.
Asked if Sushil Kumar the brand has made him to think differently, the modest-to-the-core wrestler from Delhi replied in negative.
“I don’t feel that should be a criteria to behave differently. I believe I am one among the family so there is no question of thinking that way,” said Sushil, as he emerged out of the field after having a tough football match against his friend Yogeshwar Dutt and company at the Chhatrasal Stadium.
The 29-year-old, who became the first Indian athlete to win back-to-back medals in the Olympics, after clinching a silver at the recently-concluded London Games, said that he has worked hard to get his share of endorsements.
“A lot of effort has gone to reach to this stage. It has been a very strenuous journey. I don’t think there is anything wrong in this as long as you are focussed on your goal,” said Sushil, even as he failed to conceal the pain of losing out on the opportunity to win a gold at the Games.
“There are still some years of wrestling left in me and my next aim would be 2016 Olympics. I would definitely wish to give my 100 per cent there,” he insisted.
Sushil lost 1-3 to Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu of Japan in the finals of the 66kg freestyle category after reportedly suffering from acute dehydration.
Asked if the wrestlers need to guard against complacency, after their boxing peers drew a blank in London after finishing on a high in the previous Olympics in Beijing, Sushil said the next four years would in no way be different from the past.
“We were extremely focussed at our job and practiced really hard for the London Games. I don’t think the coming years would be any different. We have done it in past and I see no reason why we cannot do it at Rio de Janeiro,” he said.
Sushil also reposed faith on the pugilists saying that the likes of Vijender Singh will come back strongly in the next Games.
Asked how life has changed after the London Olympics, Sushil said, “There is more recognition. People from all across the country have showered great love upon me. My phone has continuously been abuzz with congratulatory messages and requests for being part of various felicitation ceremonies.”
And what advice he would like to give the younger generation of grapplers, Sushil said, “Be disciplined, focus on your goal and work hard.”